Dhimmitude, or dementia?

This Buchanan column is even worse than his last one. He’s passionately pleading with the Western world never, ever to do anything that will offend Muslims anywhere, because we’re trying to “win hearts and minds.” Yes—he actually said that. This America-Firster, this bomb-throwing opponent of Bush’s entire Iraq and democratization policy (a policy he said was made up by Jewish neocons in order to launch a war that was solely for Israel’s sake), is now saying that in order to democratize the Muslims (which now he’s in favor of?) we have to make the Muslims like us. Buchanan, the scourge of all U.S. involvement in the Muslim world, thinks we can make Muslims like us, and, moreover that our getting them to like us is the key to our safety. And therefore, he argues, it doesn’t matter if they go on printing the most horrific things about Jews and Christians in their newspapers, we must print absolutely nothing offensive about them in ours.

Dhimmitude, or dementia? Your guess is as good as mine.

Several readers comment.

Carl Simpson writes:

So, let me ge this straight: Buchanan now thinks that the whole campaign to “win the hearts and minds” of Muslims is the real solution to the problems we have with them—just like the mad King George. If this is so, why on earth is he against the war in Iraq? Isn’t that one of the reasons we went in? By toppling Saddam the secular Baathist, we would win the hearts and minds of Islamic people everywhere! (It doesn’t appear that we’ve won many hearts and minds over there, despite all of our efforts.) We even facilitated the establishment of an explicitly Islamic state, dominated by the Shiites. The Kurds are a different matter, despite being Muslims, their nationalism appears to predominate for the most part. This is without even addressing the question of whether there are significant numbers of hearts and minds present in that section of the world to begin with.

This is really astonishing. There’s not much left to say except to quote a line from the movie “The Green Mile” (It’s not that great of a movie, but an appropriate quote nonetheless): “It looks like that boy’s cheese has done slid off his cracker!”

A reader in England writes:


Everything about Buchanan’s psychological profile makes me feel he is a secret submissive who wants a “strong force” to rule him. Nothing new there…. so many political “rebels” submitted to Fascism and Communism (including my New Left scene). Real democracy is not so certain not so sexy. I believe you’ve written on this sort of thing and how Islam is filling a vacuum. People like Buchanan are deep down very insecure people. McCarthy was another one (even if he was right about Reds Under the Bed). Ditto Nixon. Ditto Jimmy Carter. Ditto Muhammed Ali. Ditto Dylan. All very insecure. Ready to submit to strong forces. Ready to betray very easily (there is a difference between betrayal and changing one’s direction/views (Horowitz) but that’s another e-mail) Reagan and Thatcher and Mandela were not insecure in the same ways just to compare. They are not candidates for betrayal in the same manner nor submission to “strong forces.” Of course these are broad generalisations but I think there is some degree of truth in them. I’m not saying insecurity explains everything. It’s a very overused word as well.

Peter writes:

I’m starting to see Buchannan as a kind of tragic hero. Tragedy, of course, assumes a formerly great and sympathetic character. That was the Pat Buchannan of old to me. While criticizing him for his recent forays into absurdity and for his unfortunate (apparent) anti-Semitism, we wouldn’t be honest if we didn’t express at least some debt of gratitude. I agree with your recent correspondent that we stand on Buchannan’s shoulders, in a way. I think of his tireless fight throughout the 80s and 90s, of his firebrand speech at the 1992 Houston convention, of his groundbreaking book “The Death of the West,” which broke the ‘white extinction’ taboo.

Pat Buchannan might be a broken man, and this would explains a lot. Each man has only finite endurance of spirit. Buchannan has been caricatured throughout his entire career, by both sides. The Republican Party has rejected him. It appears to him that America, which he had loved so intensely, has rejected him.

Being so, it may be possible that he has simply given up. I don’t know very much about Le Pen (another one who made appeasing comments on the cartoon fiasco), but like Buchannan, he too may have simply given up. Are both of those men old soldiers who deserve or gratitude, while Traditionalists like you and others pick up where they had faltered?

Roger writes:

I don’t find these current positions taken by Patrich Buchanan to be the least bit surprising, and have always found his positions on issues to be utterly predictable. He is a modern version of the Nazi sympathizer Father Coughlin and is a classic authoritarian whose central feature is a pathological anti-Semitism which stems from a projection of his own aggression. This results in two fundamental characteristics, an obsessive hostility towards the imagined Jewish enemy and a strong affinity for authoritarian anti-Semites like himself. He consequently will always be against anything that benefits Israel, while he will consistently take the side of totalitarians (except the mirror image Communists). Therefore while he was an ultrahawk against the Communists he suddenly transformed into an isolationist when it came to fighting any other kind of tyranny. He opposed the first gulf war, because as a side effect it was beneficial to Israel, and he opposed the second Iraq war for the same reason, in both cases making paranoid rants about how the “Israeli lobby” was behind the war. He has shown a special sympathy for poor aging Nazi war criminals but never for their victims, and he has flirted with Holocaust denial. It’s not at all surprising that he would side not with the courageous Danes who are standing up for the true democratic values of a free society, but with the Moslems rioting against them. This is because they are authoritarians and anti-Semites just like himself whom he has far more in common with than the Danes. In fact he has nothing in common with the Danes, because authoritarian anti-Semites are always anti-democratic at the core. I have not heard his position on Iran, but I don’t need to, because I already know what it will be. He will be the most vociferous opponent against taking any military action to stop their nuclear program. This is because destroying their nuclear program will benefit the hated Jews in Israel and postpone any hope that they can be annihilated. The fact that it would be extremely dangerous to Americans for this terrorist supporting country to have nuclear weapons won’t even enter into the equation. My guess is that this latest advocating of “winning hearts and minds in the Moslem world” is likely a last ditch argument against taking action against Iran, because we can’t afford to alienate the Moslem street. When Buchanan talks of a Jewish lobby controlling American foreign policy in the interests of Israel and not the United States this is actually a projection of what he himself does. He automatically opposes anything that benefits Israel no matter how critical it might be to American interests. His positions are entirely predictable, but what I have never understood is why anyone takes him seriously and why the media has given him so much undeserved visibility.

James writes:

Buchanan writes:

“To defeat the Islamic extremists, we must win the hearts and minds of the moderates.

“To this end, Bush has visited mosques. He has held White House celebrations for the breaking of the fast at the end of Ramadan. He has sent Karen Hughes to State to develop ideas to show we respect the Islamic faith and that our war is against terror, not Islam. He has said more times than many of us care to recall, “Islam is a religion of peace.” Those cartoons – insulting, blasphemous, provocative to Muslims – have wiped out much of what Bush had accomplished.”

Bush’s accomplishments, from hoisting the white flag to the embarrassment of the nit-wit Karen Hughes attempting to smooth ruffled feathers in the Middle East? I need not read further into this column. The boy’s cheese has slid off his cracker.

LA replies:

Yes, it’s beyond incredible. Buchanan hated Bush’s invasion of Iraq and repeatedly accused the president and his neocon war supporters of treasonous deception of the American people. But it turns out that there is one aspect of Bush’s post 9/11 Islam policy that Buchanan really likes: the appeasement part, the inviting of radical Muslims to the White House part, the “Islam is a religion of peace” part, and (we must presume, by the same logic) the anti-racial-profiling in airports part. His principle is very simple: do NOTHING that Muslim will dislike, and they will leave you alone. The way to make America safe from Muslim extremism and terrorism is to follow the policy of Jacques Chirac. That’s why Buchanan is so upset about the European newspapers, including the French newspaper France Soir, that re-printed the Muhammad cartoons. Those papers are NOT FOLLOWING THE PROGRAM, the program of peace through total surrender.

And a final irony. He is attacking those papers for their secular leftist contempt for religion. The reality is that it was the secular left that invited the Muslims into Europe, empowered them in Europe, and created Eurabia. The tiny handful of papers that reprinted the cartoons are now (slightly) dissenting from that secular leftist agenda of appeasement and Islamization, and Buchanan hates them for it. So his bottom line is not opposition to the European secular left (he’s been on the same side as the European secular left in opposing the invasion of Iraq and in demonizing Israel), but his desire to appease Muslims at all costs.

Which again raises the inference (though it only an inference, as there is no proof of it) that Buchanan’s real motive is to identify with any party, especially a “strong” party like the fanatical, head-chopping Muslims, that is an enemy of the Jews.

A reader writes (8-9-06):

If you read the article, he’s so impressed with Moslem religious fervor, in contrast to Western laxity, that he’s at least somewhat sympathetic to their rage about the Danish cartoons.

This is classic second-rate thinking: you forget that you support value X (religious fervor) because it furthers higher value Y (salvation, the health of Western Civilization, take your pick) not because X is valuable in itself.

Getting fixated on secondary values is rife in politics, and he’s not the first paleo I’ve run across who seems secretly to envy the enemy his evident confidence in his faith, and wish he were an ally against secularism.

LA replies

Buchanan’s attraction to religious fervor for the sake of religious fervor would seem to be related to his attraction to power that has been commented on.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 11, 2006 01:56 AM | Send

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